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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Local Firefighters Place In Top 5 In FireFit

Port Elgin | by Claire McCormack  

Some Grey and Bruce firefighters placed in the top ranks in the tough fitness contest.

In Photo: Joe Forbes  

Some local firefighters finished on the top rungs in the FireFit contest held at Port Elgin Main Beach.

Roughly 120 firefighters from all over the country took part this past weekend and all the results can be found HERE.

Bruce Power's Courtney Surridge finished fifth in her women's age category with a time of 3:06:83 and sixth in the women's overall.

The Owen Sound Fire Department's Joe Forbes placed fifth in his men's category and sixth overall with a time of 1:27:04.

Less than one second behind Forbes, was Lion's Head native Justin Myles with the Kitchener Fire Department which also won first place in the Team category.

Bruce Power's team finished fifth. The top winner overall was Sarnia firefighter Ian Van Reenen who has won a number of times.

30 year old Forbes has been working full-time with Owen Sound for two years and was a volunteer firefighter before that. He says it was a hot day, with a big crowd watching them and a tough course, "It definitely adds to the nerves a little bit when you've got a bunch of people watching you."

Firefighters train hard ahead of the competition which involves carrying a 45 pound weight up six flights of stairs while wearing full gear, "It kind of represents if you're going into a high-rise building you're going to have to carry something on your shoulder."

At the top of the stairs they pull a hose with a 70 pound weight up the height of the six flights of stairs, then it's back down the stairs to a sledgehammer exercise that simulates a forced entry scenario, "It's actually a hydraulic ram that you have to hit so many times," says Forbes.

Once that task is complete competitors run around some pylons which Forbes says tests agility and stamina "The whole time you're in full gear on air as well so you're trying to control your breathing."

That's followed by an exercise with an authentic sized fire hose charged with water and Forbes reckons by the time a firefighter drags it out, it can have as much as 300 pounds of hose and water they must hit a target with.

The last thing, says Forbes is the hardest part which involves a 175 pound dummy, "You have to drag him 100 feet to the finish line," says Forbes, adding "You feel like you have Jello or spaghetti legs after that."

Forbes says members of the Owen Sound Fire Department train and exercise together doing some hockey exercises, weight lifting, going to the gym and using the stair master, "Owen Sound is awesome because we've got so many hills and stairs we can do a lot of that. After work, or before work we'll get together as a group and run stairs or do some hill sprints.'

Forbes would like to see more contests like FireFit in the area and says his dream is to organize something like it at the fish tent during the Salmon Spectacular.

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